Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

That’s who the personal God must be? Here’s what Tom H says in the thread:

No significant theologian in the Catholic tradition has ever thought science is sinful (Well, maybe Tertullian–but his irregular situation vis a vis the Church makes his case hardly dispositive). What is sinful or prideful is attempting to know God impersonally, that is, the attempt to form an understanding of God as less than I am, that is, as less than a person, by only condescending to try to know him through science in the strictest sense . . . .

I’m not sure that trying to get to know God impersonally is sinful. I do know it won’t work. God, as Tom H. says, can’t be less than I am. Maybe for, say, Socrates philosophy is learning how to die or getting over yourself as a being with personal significance. But the Christian view is that being personal is “being real,” and so the God of nature has to be a personal Creator.

God, as the Bible says, sees me just as I am. Or, as Tocqueville puts it, God comprehends each of us in his uniqueness—in his likenesses to and differences from others. God has no need for general (or impersonal) ideas. God thinks neither too particularly (or too personally) nor too generally, just as he doesn’t make the “scientific” error of thinking of us as either minds or bodies or even merely some mixture of mind and body.

It goes without saying I wrote this VERY quickly and only with the intention of keeping the conversation going.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles